Air Compressor Problems

The Latest from C.H. Reed

August 18, 2023

Air Compressor Problems


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Does your business depend on air compressors to deliver a steady supply of clean, compressed air at your facility or remote job sites? Is your equipment showing signs of decreasing performance or other mechanical issues?

Air compressors are complex machines with many stationary and moving parts. Even a well-constructed and expertly maintained unit may need some fine-tuning or repairs to keep it running smoothly.

Common Air Compressor Problems

Examples of typical air compressor issues and their likely causes and possible fixes include:

  • Air compressor not kicking on: If your air compressor doesn’t turn on, it could be due to a loose power cable or a switch accidentally left in the “off” position. Faulty fuses may also be the culprit.
  • Air compressor keeps shutting off: Does your compressor shut down suddenly and frequently? This potentially disruptive situation can occur for multiple reasons, such as a too-high ambient air temperature, insufficient ventilation, excessively low oil levels or a thermostatic valve malfunction.
  • Air compressor not building pressure: An air compressor may appear to be running correctly, except that it isn’t generating sufficient pressure for maximum performance. Common causes include an intake or pressure valve failure, a faulty gasket or a compromised tank check valve. Also, if you’re running a baghouse dust collection system, the diaphragm could be damaged causing artificial demand.
  • Air compressor leaking: If you notice a drop in air pressure after shutting down a compressor with a full tank, the unit is likely leaking air. You can confirm this by listening for a hissing noise or feeling the hoses for escaping air. Keep in mind that an 1/8″ diameter leak in a 100 psi system can cost more than $12,000 annually in unused energy. The higher your system’s pressure, the more expensive the loss.
  • Air compressor making loud noises: An excessively noisy air compressor might be experiencing crankcase or piston issues or have loose, clanging internal parts. An improper installation could also create loud vibrations.
  • Air compressor humming: A machine that hums instead of making its usual operating noises could be on the verge of overheating and requires prompt attention. Potential causes include an extended connection to the power supply — such as when using extension cords — a clogged or malfunctioning intake filter or an unloader valve problem.
  • Air compressor running too slow: Compressors can sometimes take too long to fill with air and build sufficient pressure. This can result from multiple issues, like a faulty or leaky seal or an intake or pressure valve failure.

Contact C.H. Reed to Fix Your Air Compressor Problems

We know that when your air compressor goes down, your business goes down. C.H. Reed is your full-service compressed air equipment partner in PA, OH, MD, DE, WV, VA, southeast MI and NY state. Our more than 75 years of industry insight and experience enable us to identify and correct air compressor issues quickly and efficiently to get you back up and running. Contact us for more information today.

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